Quassias Lignum. The Wood of Picracna (Quassia) Excelsa. Nat. Ord. Simarubaceae. Linn. Syst. Polygamia Moncecia. Source, Jamaica and the West Indies. Surinam Quassia is the wood of Quassia Amara.
Beng. Dispensatory, p. 414.
Mat. Med. of Hindostan, p. 34.
Med. Prop. and Action. Bitter tonic and stomachic. It is best given in infusion, or in tincture (gr. da, Proof Spirit Oij.), in doses of exxx. - fl. drm. j. It contains a bitter neutral principle, Quassine. It has many advantages over most other vegetable tonics; it does not increase the animal heat, it produces no sensible arterial excitement, it causes no constipation, and may be administered in infusion, in combination with the salts of Iron, and of all other metals, with the exception of the Nitrate of 8ilver and Acetate of Lead. I have generally observed an increased flow of urine, during its exhibition. In large doses it is stated to prove narcotic, but I have never witnessed this effect.
Offic. Prep. 1. Extractum Quassias (prepared by macerating powdered Quassia in Distilled Water, percolation, and evaporation). Dose, gr. ij. - gr. v.
lx.; Cold Distilled Water fl. oz. x. Infuse for half an hour, and strain). Dose, fl. oz. j. - fl. oz. ij.
Dose of Quassia in powder, gr. x. - gr. xx.
In Intermittent Fevers, Quassia has been highly extolled. It was first introduced into notice in 1756, as a successful remedy in the treatment of the severe fevers of Surinam; and in the West Indies, even at a very recent period, it was considered to possess considerable febrifuge power; thus Dr. Thomas* states that, during his residence in the West Indies, he met with many cases of Intermittent Fever, which, after resisting the powers of Cinchona, gave way to the use of Quassia - "indeed," he adds, "so sovereign a remedy was this found in Intermittents, and so easy was it to be obtained, that it was pretty generally substituted by all practitioners." He advises it in the form of infusion (3ij. ad Aq. Oss.).
Lettsom. He states that he frequently found it succeed, when Cinchona failed; he considered that it was particularly indicated when there was congestion of the hepatic system, and the debility at the same time rendered copious evacuations inadvisable. In Typhus Fever, it has also been found useful, when given in combination with Nitric Acid.
2307. In Debility succeeding Fevers, &c, Quassia proves an excellent tonic. Dr. Lettsom observes that in hysterical Atony, to which the female sex is so prone, Quassia affords more vigour and relief to the system than any other tonic, especially when united with Zinci Sulph., and still more with the aid of some absorbent.
2308. In Dyspepsia, Quassia has been found very serviceable, particularly when combined with an aromatic, as T. Zingib.; or with a sedative, as T. Hyoscyami. It has been found particularly adapted to that form of dyspepsia which arises from hard drinking. In the advanced stage of Diarrhoea, it is strongly recommended by Dr. Lettsom.
* Practice of Physic, p. 14. On the Treatment and Cure of Fevers, Lond. 8vo, 1772.
Mem. of Med. Soc. of Lond., vol. i.
2309. Against the Round Worms or Lumbrici, occurring in children, I have found the infusion taken for three or four days in succession, and followed by a brisk purge, very effective. In the treatment of Thread Worms, Dr. Watson* states that he has found the infusion, in the form of enema, very effectual.